RESPONSE

40.RESPONSE

Dr. Howard Schaffer

I believe that there is a subtle error in this calculation. The calculation implicitly assumes that the number of souls in hell at any given time is fixed, and thus the calculation has been executed in the canonical ensemble. However it seems that the number of souls in hell at any given time is not fixed, but rather that souls can wander in and out of hell, according to the current value of the chemical potential mu soul with respect to the chemical potential of souls in various other places. Else, how is it possible that Nola Demoney told me where to go one week, and the next week……well, I certainly was not there. Thus, this calculation must be reconsidered in the context of a grand thermodynamic ensemble.

In fact, the issue of the evidence of Ms. Banyan may indicate that there is not even a well-defined temperature in hell. In this case, it could be true both that all hell has broken loose (“hotter than hell”) and that hell has frozen over. Hence the phrase “come hell or high water”, indicating that hell may involve either ice or water vapour, but not liquid water.

Which all goes to verify the opening of David Goodstein’s text, which we paraphrase here for the illiterate among us:

“Ludwig Boltzmann, a founder of the science of statistical mechanics, died by his own hand in 1906. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics. Perhaps it would be wise to approach the subject cautiously.”

It should be clear, at least to those among us who subscribe to religions which canonically condemn self-inflicted mortality, just where it is that Ludwig and Paul are calculating their partition functions these days. In fact, as has been previously reported (and how could this be known other than by a momentary fluctuation of a soul out of hell to provide a report?), there is a particular department of hell reserved for students of probability and statistics. Each morning, all residents of said department file into an auditorium, where they spend the entire day watching a hundred blindfolded monkeys peck away, totally at random, at a hundred computer keyboards. At the end of the day, one hundred members of the audience chosen, of course, at random, relieve one monkey each from their random pecking and print out the resulting file. The printing inmate finds, to his severe disappointment, that each monkey has, in that day of totally random pecking, produced an absolutely error-free reproduction of one of Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets (first folio edition). This should give pause to those who use the expression “A snowball’s chance in hell” to describe an event that cannot reasonably be expected to occur.

Or, to summarize, in the words of the ballad of 5.60 – “Glory, glory, dear old thermo, we’ll pass you by and by”.

REF: Int.J. Vib. Spect., [www.irdg.org/ijvs] 1, 5, 40 (1998)